Thursday, April 28, 2016

Got me some Alabama Shakes

Earlier, I mentioned a 3-in-one night of music.

A Trifecta, featuring Brittany Howard's raging vocals.

I had seen her band
 Alabama Shakes several times before but this was at the newly-named Volvo Car Center, outdoors, under the stars on a balmy Spring night.

The band played well and Brittany's vocals were full-throttle as she played her green guitar.

And, there has to be high praise for the lighting.

Dramatic, flashy, riveting and perfect for each song.

Moods were established and it was magical.

I had the luxury of being comfortably seated on the side, several rows above the heads of those standing on the clay tennis court.

Great sight lines as my camera captured the terrific light changes.

I was a bit surprised to see so many people were standing at their seats? Huh?

They blocked the view of others while they stood, many texting on their phones, the whole time.

Perhaps they should have opted to be with the other fans standing down on the court.

I remained seated, relaxing and enjoying this musical special evening, sipping a beer.

This was the same setting where I saw Bob Dylan perform and his stage was mainly back-lighted.

It was difficult to see his face, in shadow, under his trademark wide-brim hat.

Oops. My bad.

I did not jot down the name of the band that opened.

Dylan LeBlanc was scheduled but this was a different band.

They started playing as the sun was going down so I decided to try shooting some black & white images.

(Click on the photos and links for more details and info.)

Stay alert for the "Shakes" and make sure you catch them the next time they are in town.

Thanks. Support live music!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Janis - Queen of Rock 'n' Roll!

Sunday at the Gaillard was "A Night With Janis Joplin," 

I had missed seeing her perform when she exploded on the music scene in the sixties.

I was aware of "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Piece of My Heart" certainly but did not see her before she died Oct 4, 1970.  Janis was 27.

2014 Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies, captured the voice, the emotion, and the energy last night.

And this Broadway hit wrapped up its 32-city tour appropriately here in Charleston.

The opening number was a lilting classic "Summertime," followed by  the rugged version as belted out by Ms. Joplin. (The link takes you to that true rendition by the real Janis Joplin in 1969).

 This was not just an impersonator doing songs made famous by somebody else.

I've seen a few "do" Elvis and even the Beatles and Elton John.

The audience bought into this and the experience was electric.

The four talented ladies in the "chorus" brought to life many of the musical influences in Joplin's short life.

They gave us faithful moments of Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith and a standing ovation by Aretha Franklin, all shimmery and shiny in silver.

A magical evening with the  performances at the extremely-talented
Broadway level and delightfully tricky staging and lighting.

This was my fourth evening of performances at our newly-reopened Gaillard Center and I am proud to say all have been exceptional.

At the last minute I had to skip the David Sedaris evening but I hear it too was splendid.

Two single spots on him, standing at the lectern stage center as he read - and tested - his written material for an avid audience.

Thank you, Gaillard, for  choice entertainment.

And we haven't even seen yet what it will do with Spoleto!

Click on the photos and the links for more details and information.

Thanks for stopping by to share my take on Charleston entertainment.

Yes, I remember bell-bottoms but, these were pretty fancy.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The halls are alive with music....

 Well, sure, actually the Music Farm does not have "hall" in its name.

One street over, though, is the Charleston Music Hall, one of the three venues I went to on Friday evening.

This shot at the Farm is one of the encore numbers by Cracker.

Got there kind of late as I stayed at the Music Hall to the very end of the North Mississippi Allstars show.

This dynamic duo did the work of a band with half a dozen members!

Luther Dickinson (on the left) played guitar, vocals, and even an oil can lowebow.

His brother, Cody, did a great job on the drums.

And,  Cody ALSO played the bass guitar (while seated), keyboard, and the electric washboard.

Yikes. I looked it up and it appears their regular bass player couldn't make it, so the brothers improvised!

Their opener, Eric McFadden,  sang a series of  really "sad" songs. Grim even.

The first was about digging two graves for the two people he was going to murder.

One deep grave would have been easier.

Things cheered up a bit but death, pain, and mayhem recurred in several more songs.

Completed the third show of the night (well, early Saturday) at the new downtown Home Team BBQ.

Brandon Santini, a favorite Blues harmonica artist from Memphis, was back in town.

It was on my way home, so I had to stop in. It was his next to last set.

Had to laugh the night before at the Music Hall, when Greg Allman played.

One of his very happy big fans was  up and down during the entire show

Waving his arms and showing his enthusiastic joy.

I had noticed before that these active music lovers usually were in the front row.

Of course, I would not be aware of these antics going on behind me!

Allman was pretty much hidden by his signature organ but stood and played guitar on a few songs.

I wandered up to the balcony for an unobstructed view of Greg at the keyboard.

(Click on the photos and links for more detail and information.)

Three-in-one-night was a challenge but I always have my professional ear plugs.

The pace will grow as we enter Spoleto time!

Here's a surprise link to a "thank you" for stopping by.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

TWO April birthdays for me this month...

I've been celebrating my birthday the end of April for as long as I can remember.

Well, I don't recall "the early years" very clearly, but I'm sure my parents observed the day....eventually with a cake and ice cream.

And, for at least the last 5 years, I have been aware that certain restaurants will provide an annual complimentary birthday meal.

But, today, I had an April  discount on a meal not due to it being MY birthday.

The occasion instead, was because it was Ruby Tuesday's 44th birthday.

It wasn't a free meal but they did offer a 44% discount on my total tab.

[Some restrictions apply. Like it was only available today. Sorry.]

That's almost the same as a 50% BOGO (Buy One Get One free) they used to offer.

I chose to have garlic mash taters for one side dish and then I was able to add RubyTuesday's great full salad bar as my second side.

I have not wandered down a salad line in a long time but recall I used to see how high I could pile it.

Ahem, now that I am older (and wiser), I made a sensible size salad,

But I had forgotten the small, tasty biscuits that come with the meal, so it became a nice balanced and filling repast at almost half price.

Had been a while since I had had lobster so I ordered the "Coastal Trio" that had a lobster tail, tilapia and a skewer of spicy shrimp.

I chatted with Eric, the Manager, who took over about a year ago at the Savannah Highway location.

He said the lunch crowd was quite large, and they were braced for a busy evening dinner crowd.

I took a long look at the upside down pineapple cake shown on the menu but waddled, uh, er, walked out without the sweet-tooth finishing touch.

Wisely, I drove there and was seated about 2:15. so I missed both crowds.

My server Bri, wished me an early Happy Birthday.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

YES. I would be ready for a DO OVER...

 Last October, I was picked out of a crowd of Extras to be in a short movie scene.

It was being shot in Savannah and titled The Do Over. I was to be "a hospital visitor."

Just me and my "wife" Sheila Cochran, a fellow extra, who has had success as an actress.

She emailed me to say our scene is in the movie!

Hey, not only did we not get cut out during the edit, the scene is also part of the national trailer just released for the second of four films being made for Netflix.

Sheila was known to be a good on-cue "screamer" and I was told to be startled and comfort her as we hurry off screen.

I have been an extra in several tv shows filming here in Charleston (and IDENTITY, a CBS pilot that was not picked up.) This time, instead of being in a crowd as part of onscreen  atmosphere, it was just the two of us, walking directly toward the camera. Wow!

I'm a bit old to be "an overnight success" but I'm taking a look at what pictures I should submit for future castings.

Here I am dressed as Lord Ashley Cooper to help the Post and Courier celebrate its 200th anniversary.

(Could be part of a portfolio, though.)

Well, it would have to be a rather limited period piece, ideally in the 1600 0r 1700s.

I had borrowed the outfit from a local theater group but the paper paid for the wig.

 If I wanted to be considered for a scene in an "adult film," this picture would show that I am versitile.

The Extra Casting Director could immediately see which role I was better suited for and select accordingly.

The right collection of images would give me an advantage over others who were not as diverse.

Of course, I have a few that present me in a more unusual way.

This one gets a little tricky but it possibly could portray me as a two-faced character.

Uh oh, it also would be misleading because I no longer wear glasses.

Or, in this image, only one glass.

And it's not even a monocle.

The moody head shot, with strong contrast side-lighting, also would not work.

Since I had the successful  cataract surgery on both eyes, if glasses were called for, I suppose I could slip on a pair of inexpensive, pensive Costco reading glasses.

So, there are a few choices. I'm ready for my close-up.

Please take a moment to mark your calendar for May 27 and use Netflix to stream "my" movie THE DO OVER. Adam Sandler is in it too. And David Spade. And Paula Patton.

(Click on the images and links for more details.)

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Ravished grocery shelves before a storm??

Does this mean a huge "H" storm is on its way here?

Panic buying cleared out the shelves?

There's no coffee...or toilet paper? Yikes.

The dairy section is vacant too.

Oh, a few items are still there but it's mainly light bulbs.

Some weird sundries.

And umbrellas. Lots of them??

No, there was not a severe weather forecast. It was worse than that.

This Bi-Lo grocery store on
Remount Road announced several weeks ago that it was closing. Gone from North Charleston.

Shutting down.

Not refilling fresh produce or the depleted meat counter.

Shop quickly before it's all gone by the end of March, it was advised

It's a pretty, sunny day outside but inside it's pretty dark and bleak.

Found out that it closed because the lease was up.

I remember 20 years ago when some old homes and apartments had been razed to clear the space. Yet another strip mall, anchored by a major grocery store, but a financial boon for the neighborhood.

It's not a "food desert" like over by 10-mile viaduct - the old Shipwatch Square.

There's a nearby Food Lion a few blocks away in one direction. And a former Piggly Wiggly not far, going the other way on Remount Road.

Doscher's has been here a long, long time and you can talk to the butcher to have your meat cut as thick as you want...up until 2pm.

I live in Hanahan so I went to check out the nearest Bi-Lo and did my shopping over at Tanner Plantation on North Rhett.

Take a look at the reviews for that store. They pretty well sum up my experience. Nice store, friendly employees and excellent prices.

I even met a man stocking shelves, named Chris,  who had been hired the day before after his last days on Remount Road at the closed store.

It's actually a SUPER Bi-Lo.

Really, that it's name.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

"When Old Is New Again..."

"Altered Narratives" was conceived by local photographer
Christine Eadie.
An accomplished photographer, she also has been known locally as the Charleston Tin Typist for several years now.

She explored this 18th-century art form and then started creating her own, most notably at Civil War re-enactments.

Christine took a sample "old school" photo of me last year at The Battle of Charleston.

Recently, she converted a trailer into her portable darkroom to make wet plate tintypes on the spot, right next to the battlefield.

That's how they did it back in Mathew Brady's day as he and others pioneered pictorial coverage of the War Between The States with horse-drawn facilities for developing wet plate photos.

Anyway, her growing skill with tintypes encouraged her to contact 11 other like-minded artists and photographers.

This talented dozen presents its collective "old-is-new" effort March 19 - May 1, 2016, at the City Art Gallery, overlooking the pineapple fountain, at the newly-renamed Joe Riley Waterfront Park.

Here is a close-up portion of a carbon-transfer 25" x 31" framed print titled "Angel of Fisterra," by Sandy King.

The city gallery is open and airy and well lighted for viewers of art.

However, taking a photo is a challenge because of the prints being framed with glass and there are multiple light reflections.

Most galleries do not allow photography so my preview look might be the exception.

I had a friend stand behind me to use him to block the reflected glare on "Metamorphosis."

But I started laughing when I saw the overall image his attempt made on the gallery wall.

I would have had him hold up a blanket if one had been handy.

The artists were there at this pre-opening event.

They answered questions about the media they used and  detailed the many arduous steps involved. This was not a simple digital camera experience.

Just a listing of the mediums and techniques used is impressive: tintype, palladium, gum bichromate and ziatypes.

Add in hand-colored black and white art to help define the hands-on approach of crafting a photograph from start to finish.

I talked with a few others who had built darkrooms in their homes long ago.

We refreshed our memories of the chemical smells, eerie red and yellow lighting and the craft of moving images around to create some result we had only in our mind.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Saw only one person there at the gallery, snapping pictures with a Smartphone camera.

And that was just a picture of Eadie, posing by her exhibit.

Here is a replacement copy for the one I snapped of her concept of "Crossing Over." This lighting is excellent and no glaring reflections!

Let me add, that this is a wet plate collodion on aluminum.

Be sure to stop by the City Gallery and see for yourself. All of these look much better there!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kiss me..I'm Irish!

About 7 years ago, I was in Atlanta on St. Patrick's Day.

Attended a parade downtown and caught a shot of a street vendor offering his green-hued wares.

(I actually Photoshopped the figure on the Walk/Don't Walk sign to be a traditional color for the Day.)

Years later, during a St. Paddy's Day in Park Circle on Montague, I saw a costumed figure stride past me in a similar WALK sign outfit.

Maybe he had been the model for the original?

Yes, I am sure it was a male. A proud one.

I am fortunate in my travels to have spent nearly two weeks roaming all over Ireland, the Emerald Isle, but not on March 17.

Was there on the 250th anniversary of the founding of Guinness and the celebration called Arthur's Day.

A splendid occasion to lift a glass of cheer, er, beer, uh, a Guinness,  to toast the founder the storied brewery.

I did not dare to rent a car in Ireland.

Didn't wish to drive the narrow twisting lanes.

But I did see there were plenty of helpful roadside signs to help me find my way.

While in Atlanta, I saw that some fountains were turned green.

Savannah is a city that tried back in the 1950s to make its river  that color for the day.

It gave up because it was splotchy, streaked green and just looked silly.

Look closely at this fellow at a Park Circle celebration a few years ago.

He apparently is a proud Marine with the Globe & Anchor symbol tattooed on his right shoulder.

I never saw him actually drinking a beer but am pretty sure some had been consumed earlier that day.

Or when he ducked in and out of several bars.

And, speaking of bars that were open and part of the festivities, I stopped into the Madra Rua for a drink and a break.

I saw a reminder of the Auld Sod in the Gents bathroom.

(Or, the toilet or WC.)

In Ireland, for some reason, all of the toilets were on the floor below the bar level, or above. Steep stairs were always involved.

Having my camera with me - and being very shy - I still managed to snap a few happy faces while doing some Street Photography.

Such single pictures are supposed to quickly tell a story.

I think this one qualifies.

But some people are hesitant to show they are holding a beverage when having their picture taken.

My biggest challenge was trying to balance a camera in one hand and a filled beer cup in the other.

Simple solution - drink the beer then take the picture.

Looks like these two were about ready to replenish their beverages.

One thing I did NOT see today - so far - was a leprechaun.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Have a safe fun day.

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